“What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?” (The Monkees Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Hello and welcome to a Valentine’s Day edition of the Laptop Sessions with Jim Fusco!  Tonight, I bring you a great song by the Monkees in “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?”.  I’ve always loved this song, especially because of the great country-rock spin that Mike Nesmith put on it.  I was a little disappointed, though, to find out that he didn’t write it.  All these years I thought he did!

This is the final leftover video from last year’s recording sessions.  So, I guess it now means that I’m going to have to record some new videos this year!  I have a ton of ideas, it’s just about getting the time set aside to record them.  My ambition is growing, so that’s always a good thing!

I’ve always loved the songs that Mike Nesmith sang for the Monkees.  He is very similar to Gene Clark (of the Byrds) to me.  Nesmith was the first one who stopped touring with the Monkees, just like Clark.  And on future reunions, both Nesmith and Clark were the “flaky” ones that gave up on the projects before everyone else.  Their style of singing and musical styles are very similar, as well.  I consider them both pioneers in the “Southern Rock” category.  I think the most important similarity between the two musicians was their lack of recognition.  As everyone knows, the Monkees have never gotten the respect they deserved.  Everyone always just considered them a vocal band that did songs other people wrote.  That might have been true for a period of time, but it wasn’t necessarily their choice.  On albums like ‘Headquarters”, the members of the Monkees played almost all of the instruments.  And, Mike Nesmith was a very accomplished songwriter.  His song, “You Just May Be The One” is one of my Top 5 songs of all time!  And, Gene Clark, as great as he was, was never given the recognition he deserved, either.  He truly was one of the best rock songwriters of all time, claiming another one of my Top 5 favorite songs in “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”.

I think a main difference between Michael Nesmith and Gene Clark is how they went about dealing with their fame and lack of recognition.  Nesmith kind of receded into the background and many people didn’t hear much from him for a long time.  Gene Clark, however, kept pushing on, but let the disappointment he felt from not regaining his Byrds popularity get to him.  Nesmith is still around, playing the occasional tour and Gene Clark has been gone for about 20 years now.

One frustrating thing about Nesmith is that he didn’t go on the reunion tour with the Monkees while Davy Jones was still alive.  And now that Davy is gone, Nesmith decided to go back on tour with the other two guys!  I really wish he could’ve had some more foresight and went out with the whole original group in tact.  Now, I’ll never get to see all four together.

I hope you enjoy today’s acoustic cover version of “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round” by the Monkees here on the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog.  Stay tuned, because we have many more Guest Sessions and future new Laptop Sessions cover videos with me, Jim Fusco!

“A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” (The Monkees Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Friday edition of the Laptop Sessions with me, Jim Fusco!

Today, I’m doing a great tune written by Neil Diamond, but performed by the Monkees, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”. Not only does this song have a great message (like “it’s not all my fault, but SOME of it is”), but has a catchy tune and chord progression.

Actually, it’s that classic 3-chord Neil Diamond style, just shifted up a few frets on a capo.

I hope you like my whistling solo in the middle there! 🙂

BIG things are happening at Fusco-Moore Productions and I hope you’ll visit the blog (and our newly completed other suite of websites) today!

“You Just May Be The One” (Monkees Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to another “new bands week” edition of the Laptop Sessions! Today’s song comes from a band that’s anything but “new”, but since I haven’t played a song from them before, I figured this would be the week to bust one out!  That band is the Monkees, and they’re one of my favorite bands of all time.  The Monkees were the soundtrack to my early life.  Remember when they started playing the reruns of the TV show back in the late 80s?  Well, I used to watch it then and also listened to their Greatest Hits collection constantly.  I always gravitated to the music of Michael Nesmith, probably because he was a songwriter and musician.  The songs that Davy Jones sang were almost always cover songs or songs that were written for the Monkees’ TV show.

Tonight’s acoustic cover song, as I’ve mentioned before, ranks as my second favorite song of all time, right behind “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better” by the Byrds. But, if you listen to this song and the Byrds song, you’ll hear that they’re very similar. They both have pretty much the same chords, and “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better” wins because of its great guitar solo and its harmonies.  And, the songwriter of “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”, Gene Clark, was very similar to Mike Nesmith.  The both were the first ones to leave their bands.  They wrote the melancholy songs of the group with a bit of country-rock flair.  And they were by far and away the best songwriters of their groups.  I think it’s pretty funny that I gravitate so much towards such similar musicians like them.  I wonder if I share any of those characteristics (or at least THINK I do…).

“You Just May Be The One” is the song I play for people when I get the tired old “the Monkees didn’t write their own songs or play their own instruments” line. Well, on this song, they did both. In fact, on the entire “Headquarters” album, they did both. These guys were very talented and don’t get a lot of credit for that.  Of course, everyone knows that the band was manufactured for the TV show only.  This “band” was never supposed to happen.  But, I think the band worked hard over the years to prove their worth as musicians.

I hope you’ll agree that this is one of the best songs of all time.  I’m very happy to add it to my collection of cover songs here on the video blog.  And let me be the first to welcome the Monkees to the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog!